Social distancing due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) has left the spring holidays quiet, unemployment rates high, people communicating electronically and many places empty. But how are Montclair State University couples dealing with it?
According to Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order, people are allowed to leave their houses to visit their significant others.
For couples such as Stephanie Braunlich, a senior television and digital media major, and Chris Vadinsky, a senior athletic training major, the experience has not been too difficult for their relationship. The couple took a cruise together during spring break and eventually ended up quarantined together.
“We quarantined from our families for a few weeks, but have seen each other,” Braunlich said.
Although Braunlich and Vadinsky have been able to still see each other, not everyone is able to be with their romantic partners during this time.
Renee Marcinczu, a senior family science and human development major, and her boyfriend, Alex White, a Montclair State alumnus, both have parents that are at high-risk for contracting COVID-19. Despite this, they still make their relationship work during these tough times.
White was the only person outside of Marcinzuk’s family that she was seeing and explained how they were making it work.
“We are both extremely careful when it comes to staying home and washing our hands,” Marcinczuk said. “We figured if we don’t go anywhere and [we] are the only outside people one another sees, it’s no different than together.”
While it was not difficult for them at the start of the quarantine and they saw each other nearly every day, due to the escalating amount of deaths that the coronavirus has caused, Marcinczuk is now not allowed to see her boyfriend until the crisis ends.
“It’s for the best,” Marcinzuk said. “I’d rather not see him for a few weeks if it means our entire families can come out of this healthy.”
Tyler Harris, a junior television and digital media major, is in the same situation. Harris has not seen his girlfriend in over a month.
Although she lives near his hometown, Harris usually saw his girlfriend every few weeks when he was living on campus. Now that he is living at home, he is dealing with something more complicated.
“Since I’m living at home, 10 minutes from her, it’s even more painful not to be able to see each other,” Harris said.
Brianna Gough, a senior family science and human development major, is also in a relationship and looks at the situation as a learning experience.
“Social distancing has made it more challenging to be in a relationship for sure, but [it has] taught [me] how to manage my relationship in a new way,” Gough said.
Gough admits it was tricky at first, but learning to adjust has made it easier for both herself and her boyfriend.
“We understand we can’t see each other as often as we would like,” Gough said. “That hasn’t changed the way we feel about one another or the relationship as a whole.”